It is no secret that the ASD community has long been plagued by the use of unsupported and often controversial interventions. The call for the use of interventions that have proven their effectiveness (EBPs) is particularly important for the ASD community. The uncritical use of unproven 'miracle' interventions has encouraged unrealistic, implausible, and unhealthy expectations about treatment results and have ultimately impeded the progress of identifying effective interventions for children and adolescents with ASD (Simpson, 2005).
At Focus, we believe that Science provides us with the best means for determining the effects of an intervention on a condition/disorder and helps us separate facts from beliefs, opinions and marketing ploys. For this reason, in a huge effort, we only apply evidence-based interventions in our teaching practices.
What is evidence-based practice?
An intervention is considered to be an evidence-based practice when there is scientific evidence to support its claims.
Evidence-based practices must be selected for implementation based on sound professional judgment, coupled with the careful review of available data, input from individuals and family members, and an honest evaluation of interventionists? capacity to implement the interventions accurately.
Why is it important to identify evidence-based practices?
The long-term outcomes for children and adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are greatly impacted by the types of interventions that they receive. Intervening early and with efficiency can make a remarkable difference in the social, behavioral, communicative, and self-help outcomes for people affected by ASD.
For this reason, extra time and resources are rarely available to invest in unproven or inconsistently effective practices. Families and practitioners who serve children and adults with ASD are empowered when they are able to select treatments that are likely to have a maximal positive impact and will be acceptable and feasible.
How are evidence-based practices identified for the treatment of ASD?
The National Autism Center developed the National Standards Project to identify and publish a list of evidence-based practices for the treatment of ASD. Panels of experts reviewed 6,463 research abstracts and ultimately 775 research studies in which treatments were tested for people with ASD under 22 years of age. The panelists checked the quality of studies and evaluated the effects of the treatments (National Autism Center, 2009).